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The Deutschlandtakt (Germany’s nationwide integrated regular interval timetable) makes the railways fit for the future. It is the key compass for the infrastructural evolution of the rail network. The aim is to create efficient and reliable infrastructure. To achieve this, the Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport is, together with all stakeholders, bringing about a paradigm shift in infrastructure planning. The approach is: “first the timetable, then the infrastructure”.

On Tuesday, during the third of four nationwide regional conferences which took place in Hamburg, the Federal Government Commissioner for Rail Transport, Parliamentary State Secretary Theurer, presented the specific improvements in rail transport that the Deutschlandtakt is to bring about for the North-West of Germany. Together with representatives of the federal states and the sector, different perspectives on the Deutschlandtakt were considered.

Parliamentary State Secretary Michael Theurer:

With the Deutschlandtakt, we have, for the first time, an overall approach for the railways that equally covers local, long-distance and freight transport and can be experienced soon as its different phases are implemented. However, it has to be explicitly emphasized that this is not about isolated race tracks but about an efficient railway infrastructure that is fit for the future with attractive services and short journey times to the different regions. Together with all stakeholders, we now have to drive the measures necessary for the Deutschlandtakt forward in a targeted manner, while of course considering regional needs. The Deutschlandtakt only includes transport requirements; the specific fleshing out of the projects, including the alignment, will take place in the other planning phases.

Senator for Transport Dr Anjes Tjarks:

The Deutschlandtakt is a paradigm shift with which we are partially turning transport policy upside down. We have fixed railway targets that will lead to considerable travel time savings for the passengers and result in tangible quality gains for the railways. This does not only benefit long-distance transport but also regional rail services and, through the strengthening of the infrastructure, also freight transport. To achieve these service targets, we need the funds but also the political courage to implement important infrastructure measures. In Hamburg, we are ready for this: among other things, we will enlarge the main station, we are planning a new rapid transit tunnel through the city, and we are assessing whether it is possible to extend the bridges over the River Elbe.

Transport Minister of Schleswig-Holstein Claus Ruhe Madsen:

With the Deutschlandtakt, the Federal Government and the federal states have for the first time jointly developed a target concept for rail transport. This will make travelling by rail more attractive, in urban and rural areas. The federal state of Schleswig-Holstein will contribute to this by expanding local transport services and reactivating lines. It is important that the Federation ensures the funding of the infrastructure projects. In Schleswig-Holstein, this concerns, for instance, additional tracks between Bad Schwartau and Lübeck. But one thing is also clear: the Deutschlandtakt will only become a reality if the Federal Government provides sufficient funding for local and regional passenger rail services. Only then, will it be possible to extensively expand existing services and provide services on reactivated lines.

Dr Berend Lindner, State Secretary at the Ministry of Transport of Lower Saxony:

For Lower Saxony, the Deutschlandtakt offers great opportunities. We will improve local public transport services, and I expect the cities in Lower Saxony to have better direct links to long-distance passenger services. I also hope that freight transport can be strengthened. Extensive infrastructure measures are necessary to implement the Deutschlandtakt. We have to place a focus on what can be done within what time-frame, what measures would benefit all transport operations and how the regions concerned can also be involved. In Germany, we should first implement what is already provided for in the Federal Transport Infrastructure Programme. We need a realistic Deutschlandtakt and no unattainable utopia. Therefore, I appreciate the approach of continually improving the Deutschlandtakt. It is particularly important to create additional capacities in the rail network soon so as to be able to expand the services offered. More passengers and more goods are to be transported using the environmentally friendly rail mode – the Deutschlandtakt can be a building block for this by providing attractive changing times at the railway hubs and making improvements in the network.

The Deutschlandtakt is no abstract goal but is gradually becoming more concrete: on the road towards the Deutschlandtakt, there are currently measures being planned and/or implemented with a level of investment of approx. 26 billion euros for the North-West. This concerns, among others, the axes Münster - Lünen, Hanover - Hamburg/Bremen, Hanover - Bielefeld, Hamburg - Lübeck - Puttgarden, Brunsbüttel - Wilster as well as the hubs Cologne, Hamburg and Hanover.

More detailed information can be found here: (in German only)